I’m looking for answers to two big questions that earnings from Amazon (AMZN) and Caterpillar (CAT) left us with last week. In the case of Amazon, where the company reported a slide in revenue growth after a big bump in sales due to everybody ordering everything on line during the Pandemic shutdown, the question is What is the actual sales growth trend once you remove all the plus and minuses from the Pandemic? This isn’t a question just for Amazon, of course. It’s important for figuring out the valuation of everything from Las Vegas hotel and casino play MGM Resorts International (MGM) to streaming champion Netflix (NFLX) to Starbucks (SBUX).
The other question left hanging at the end of the week is whether or not we’re about to see a string of companies forecasting lower margins due to rising prices for raw materials. That was the takeaway message from Caterpillar’s (CAT) earnings report.
As of the close today, the market hasn’t given us a definitive answer. Amazon shares were up 0.12% and Caterpillar fell 0.77%. Not huge gains but no big panicky pull back either.
The big indexes were up earlier in the day and finished, generally, down with the Standard & Poor’s 500 off 0.18% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lower by 0.28%. The NASDAQ Composite gained 0.06% and the NASDAQ 100 rose 0.02%. The small cap Russell 2000 fell 0.48%
The CBOE S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX) has moved back over 19 to 19.46, a 6.69% rise. That’s near the top of the recent 17 to 20 range. Nothing to indicate a big spike in fear but an indication that investors and traders are feeling edgy enough to spend some money hedging risk.